Maisie Shenandoah, Oneida clan mother, dies at 77
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Filed Under: National
Maisie Shenandoah, a clan mother of the Oneida Nation of New York, died early this morning. She was 77.
As a woman of power in a matriarchal society, Shenandoah helped revitalize the tribe, whose lands were lost to theft by the state of New York. The tribe has been able to repurchase about 17,000 acres within its ancestral reservation.
Shenandoah, who was a member of the Wolf Clan, appointed her nephew, Ray Halbritter, as the tribe's chief representative. Halbritter oversaw the establishment and growth of the tribe's gaming and business empire but the two later fell into a dispute over traditional values and the direction of the tribe.
Shenandoah helped build a longhouse on the reservation, her daughter, the singer Joanne Shenandoah, said. Maisie Shenandoah's funeral service will take place at the longhouse.
EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Our prayers and condolences go out to the Oneida Nation.